Lesson 2: Contour Lines, Texture and Construction

8:55 PM, Saturday June 26th 2021

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Hi! Please critique my process if you see something wrong. The texture exercises were hell, but the ones after that were fun.

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4:11 PM, Sunday August 1st 2021

Hello HFO1,

Congrats on finishing Lesson 2! It is quite a daunting lesson, especially due to how much time must be put on the textures section alone, but you've pushed through and finished it.

I'm sorry for taking a while to get back at you, but today I will be offering you some critique, I hope that my advice helps you in your DAB journey.

Starting off with

Thinking in 3D Section


First things first, you're doing a good job of keeping your linework confident and smooth for the most part. Your shading can definitely use some more time and planning put into it, remember that the shading should go from one end to the other, not stop at arbitrary places.

Onto your arrow construction itself, sometimes your edges don't overlap when they should, which makes your arrow look distorted as they don't bend naturally.


Another struggle you face is keeping the size of your arrows consistent, they bulge and narrow suddenly when they shouldn't, which is detrimental to the view we're trying to paint of those arrows: of them being solid objects with consistent size moving freely through space. To try to improve upon this you can try building the second curves of your arrows in segments using the ghosting method, with time however you should push your limits and try to build it in one go.

I suggest that when you tackle this exercise again during your warm ups, that you try to make arrows that overlap much more, diminishing the negative space between each overlap. As of now many of your arrows feel very safe and it's important for us as artists to always push ourselves if we want to improve.

Organic Forms/Sausages

Moving on to your organic forms, I like to start off by pointing out something that isn't a mistake but can be hurtful to your improvement if you don't realize it: Grinding a single sausage rotation in both of your pages.

There are actually three most important ones and you should practice all of them.


Onto your actual forms, you're doing a good job of maintaining them the desired consistent sausage shape, but sometimes you end up elongating the ends of your sausages, flattening them or making the sausage a stretched oval shape instead.


Onto your ellipses and contour lines, your ellipses are smooth and you are doing a good job of keeping them within the bounds of your sausage and mostly aligned to your minor axis.

You're also doing a good job by trying to vary their degrees as the sausage rotates, you just go overboard sometimes which makes some of the sausages feel crowded. Keep in mind that if there is a previous ellipse already implying how the sausage is turning you don't need another that conveys the same information to the viewer.

It's very common for students who vary their ellipses in the first page to struggle much more on the second as you're not allowed to draw the entire ellipse, some of contours don't have as much variation as they should, which ends up flattening your forms. Don't think of contours as only that, try to think of how you'd add an ellipse in their place and ghost the entire ellipse, but when you're actually drawing it only draw the part that would be seen if the sausage was a solid, real object.

Here are some photos that might help you with understanding more about the degrees of ellipses in a cylindrical form. Photos by user 'Slate' on the DAB discord server.




Texture and Detail Section

Texture Analysis

Onto the textures section, you are starting to understand the purpose of cast shadows, good job, bur your page for this exercise feels a bit unfinished, there is a lot of white space that could have been used better to help convey your textures.

And to make even thin shadows dynamic, it's recommended to approach them like this, instead of a single line:


While I believe you did well in not letting the black bar completely visible I feel like your transition is a bit harsh still and could have been pushed more.

Texture Dissections

You are relying a lot on drawing outlines and using negative space to create your textures rather than cast shadows in this exercise, which is why it gets difficult to create a good gradient and focal points of detail.

You're also struggling with keeping the underlying form in mind and using that information to wrap your textures around your sausages, the one that immediately jumps out to me the most is the cheese in your first page.

Here, if you scroll a bit through this page you will find some renders of tree bark on spheres and a cylinder, you can also search more on your own and find more resources of textures rendered on spheres.


I believe that this part of your submission is the weakest as it feels very rushed, while you have some great textures like tiles that shows you understand light and shadow on a cylindrical surface and how to wrap your forms around it, you also have ones that feel very rushed.

I believe you would have benefited more from taking more time with each individual texture, as of now many of them feel unfinished, like the cactus, strawberry and grass.

Construction Section

Form intersections

You show a great deal of understanding of 3D space here, your forms have the same rate of foreshortening and your intersections feel very believable already, you have some who don't feel quite as solid yet so I'll link you this album, made by user Optimus.


What you can improve in this exercise when attempting it again is to only apply lineweight to the places where your forms connect, not the entire form. As well as by pushing your limits and trying intersections where the forms connect more, as many of your intersections feel a bit safe as if you didn't want to adventure into unknown territory.

Due to the low quality of the image it's a bit hard to tell, but some of your hatching looks a bit rushed, don't forget that it doesn't matter if we're drawing a single line or a thousand, we want to put the same amount of care and planning into all of them.

Organic form intersections

Finishing your critique with the last exercise of the bunch, you've done well by making your sausages feel solid, but with your intersections many of your top sausages feel as if they're floating and not actually being affected by the gravity and the forms underneath them. All of your sausages should be supported, try to think of them as water balloons and how they would wrap around the other forms then.


You're doing well by trying to make you shadows follow the form of the sausage underneath, but sometimes you struggle with placing them, so don't be scared of pushing them and adding more shadows to places where there should be, like the ground and the small spaces where a sausage is on top of another and would stop light that'a coming from above from getting in there. You can also use lineweight to help distinguish the position of your forms better.


I suggest that you watch Uncomfortable's demo on this exercise if you haven't already as it clears up a lot of confusion, there is also a 40 minute video by Scyllastew on this exercise.


Final Thoughts

Due to the quality of the images sometimes it's harder to analyze them, I'll recommend that you take those pictures during the day, with the highest amount of natural lighting possible and trying to avoid taking the picture at an angle, some phone cameras can distort it a bit and make what would be a completely fine page look sometimes distorted.

I believe that your rushing is harmful to your progress, pace yourself better and remember not to rush through these exercises, they take as long as they take and that's it, going through them faster ironically won't make you improve faster.

I believe that while you understood the purpose of many of these exercises you didn't always know how to apply these concepts to your work.

I won't be moving you to Lesson 3 yet, each lesson builds on top of one another and I'd like you to understand a few concepts before having to apply them to more complex subjects.

Please read over the organic forms section and organic intersections lesson and watch the demos, then reply with:

• 1 page of sausages with contour lines

• 1 page of organic intersections

If you're not in it already, have you considered joining the Drawabox Discord Server?


The Drawabox discord server is the best place to ask for critique on partial work as you move along the exercises and with the Critique exchange initiative you can make sure that you're always guaranteed a critique, even though you're a community member.

Next Steps:

Please read over the organic forms/sausages section and organic intersections section and watch the demos. Then please reply with:

1 Page of Organic Forms with contours

1 Page of Organic Intersections

When finished, reply to this critique with your revisions.
3:33 PM, Saturday September 11th 2021
edited at 5:42 PM, Sep 12th 2021

Hi, I'm back! Here are my revisions: https://imgur.com/a/WGyh8tA

Some notes about the organic intersections exercise:

  • I struggled with adding line weight to overlapping forms. If I did it with my usual thin pen (idk the english terms), it would come out unnoticeable and if I did it with the thicker one, it would blend in with the cast shadow. EDIT: Nevermind, I found out I have the wrong pen. I'll buy the correct one for future lessons.

  • I added the small form in the top right after I added the cast shadows, that was a mistake. Now the cast shadow overlaps the form, which doesn't make sense. Just letting you know I'm aware of that mistake.

  • Somehow I missed hearing "you can draw through your forms" when I watched uncomfortable's video before, that's probably the reason my forms were floating. Should be better now.

Feel free to assign more homework before moving me onto lesson 3 if you think it's necessary, improvement is my number one priority. Looking forward to hearing your response, hope you're still active.

edited at 5:42 PM, Sep 12th 2021
4:47 PM, Sunday September 26th 2021

I am so so sorry for leaving you waiting for so long! I took a small break from Dab but I'm back now.

I can definitely see improvement in your revisions, your forms look more 3D now and the organic intersections feel like they have more weight to them now.

There is not much I can add, there are a couple of mistakes here and there but I believe that you can improve upon them by simply adding these exercises to your warm up sessions.

I believe you are ready for L3.

Next Steps:

Move on to Lesson 3.

This community member feels the lesson should be marked as complete, and 2 others agree. The student has earned their completion badge for this lesson and should feel confident in moving onto the next lesson.
8:28 PM, Sunday September 26th 2021

It's alright! I asked for some feedback on the discord like you recommended, they said it was fine so I went ahead to lesson 3. Thanks again for the critique, I keep coming back to it when I'm struggling.

4:35 PM, Tuesday August 3rd 2021

Wow, thank you very much for the gigantic critique! Your critiques are on point and articulate, I understood each one clearly. As I still have some deadlines to meet I can't submit the homework at this moment, but I'll do it ASAP and submit it as a reply, hope you'll stick around until then. I'll be joining the discord for help with future lessons for sure!

11:51 PM, Wednesday August 4th 2021

I'm very glad my critique has been helpful to you! And don't worry I always check my notifications every few days and plan on sticking with Drawabox for as long as possible, but if you don't get an answer when you post your revisions you can feel free to ask for help in the discord server, I'm sure someone else will be happy to give you the go ahead if I'm not available.

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9:37 PM, Wednesday July 21st 2021

Hello! Just to make sure, are you still interested in this course? I can write you a critique, I'm just making sure that you're still active and will benefit from it first

5:26 PM, Monday July 26th 2021

Hi! Yes, I plan to continue, just been busy with other stuff for the past month. I'd be very grateful for a critique.

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